NORFOLK, Neb. – A local organization that assists families in need is the recipient of the work of students at Northeast Community College who are pursuing their education to work in the industry following graduation. The effort is one of the service projects students participate in each academic year.
The College’s Early Childhood Education Club organized a Diaper Drive to support families who work with the Sixpence Program. College students, faculty, and staff donated any size and brand of diaper and wipes to help fill the need of the families.
The Norfolk Public Schools’ Sixpence Program is designed to provide parents and soon-to-be parents the opportunity to bond and develop strong relationships with their children/unborn children, learn to be their child's first teacher, promote learning within the home environment, and encourage and support curiosity within the child's play. Sixpence serves as a resource for support throughout a child's first years. It promotes family strength by recognizing individual values, encouraging teamwork, and creating links in the community.
Lisa Guenther, early childhood education instructor and club adviser, said service projects are an important part of the Early Childhood Education Club. She said members reach out to children to make their lives better and to help prepare children for school and their lives.
“The goal of the Sixpence Program is for families to give their child the best possible start in life. That is also the goal of the Early Childhood Education Club at Northeast,” she said. “Ninety percent of a person’s brain develops between birth and age five. These are critical years for growth, development, health, and learning for a person’s life.”
Destiny Dickey, West Point, president of the Early Childhood Education Club, said, “The diaper drive helps families in need all over northeast Nebraska. Through the donations we help many families put diapers on their young children. Making sure all young children have the important necessities is making a difference in their life.”
“Diapers make a difference. Giving a diaper or two will help the children in need,” said Skyler Prokop, Thurston, club member. “Donating these diapers could change a child’s life.”
Club members collected 38 packages/boxes of diapers, as well as wipes and monetary donations.
Early Childhood Education Club members also recognize that reading aloud to a child starting at birth is the number one thing adults can do to prepare a child for school and life. Reading aloud to a child grows vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking.
Another service project of the club is Prime Time Family Reading Time. The Humanities Nebraska sponsored program invites families to come for a meal, storytelling and book sharing for school aged children. Club members provide childcare for preschool children during the evening. Members also plan and complete book sharing and activities for the preschool children.
“This is a win-win for the families who attend and for our club members,” Guenther said. “Our students gain experiences caring for and sharing books with preschool age children and provide the service of childcare for the families.”
Reading aloud daily to children is an important part of the Early Childhood Education students’ learning. Club member, Brayden Hitchler, Columbus, reads to her 10-month-old little sister.
“Happiness is reading to my little sister and watching her learn through books.”
Guenther said she is pleased the Early Childhood Education Club can be an integral part of the Northeast Community College region making a difference in children's lives.
“Small acts like a Diaper Drive, reading aloud to a child, and being involved in the Humanities Nebraska sponsored Prime Time Family Reading Time are examples of service projects that act as models for club members to make a difference in children's lives for their future.”
Members of the Northeast Community College Early Childhood Education Club organized a Diaper Drive to support families in the Sixpence Program in Norfolk as one of their service projects held throughout the academic year. Pictured (from left) are Jazmyne Neal, Atkinson, Destiny Dickey, West Point, Mekenzie Simmerman, Ida Grove, Iowa, Skyler Prokop, Thurston, and Brayden Hitchler, Columbus.